Spice Roll

This recipe comes from The Settlement Cookbook, first published in 1901. The book was initially created as a charity cookbook to raise funds for the Jewish Settlement House in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and was so successful that the proceeds of the first two editions were enough to purchase a site for the new Settlement House. The cookbook presents a variety of recipes influenced by German, Eastern European, and Jewish cooking, reflecting the culinary traditions of the immigrants served by the Settlement House.

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A Christmas Cookey

Amelia Simmons’ 1796 cookbook American Cookery, the first cookbook written by an American to be published in the United States, was also one of the first English-language cookbooks to use the word “cookie.” While British cookbooks used the terms “small cakes” or “biscuits,” in America the word “cookie,” derived from the Dutch word “koekje,” came to be used instead.

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Pumpkin Cakes

One of my favorite things about fall is cooking with pumpkin – whether it’s pumpkin pies, pumpkin cakes, or pumpkin sauces, I will pretty much try anything with pumpkin in it. As a result, I almost always have small amounts of leftover pumpkin purée sitting around. This recipe for pumpkin cakes, from Lettice Bryan’s 1839 book The Kentucky Housewife, is just the ticket to use up any pumpkin remnants. Although they are baked in an oven instead of on a griddle, these are very similar to hoe-cakes or pancakes; Lettice Bryan includes them in the chapter “Warm Cakes &c. for Breakfast and Tea.”

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Brown Betty

Betties are part of the group of baked-fruit-with-topping dishes (along with cobblers, crisps, crumbles, slumps, etc.), which I can never seem to tell apart from one another. After comparing Apple Betty recipes in multiple 19th and 20th century cookbooks, it seems like the distinguishing feature of a Betty is multiple layers of breadcrumbs alternating with the fruit – although there were a few exceptions that used cubes or slices of bread instead. This recipe from 1866 makes a pretty standard Apple Betty. No measurements are given in the original; I have provided the amounts I used for a 1.5 quart baking dish, but since precise measurements don’t matter it can be easily adapted for other sizes.

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Mint Cordial

Homemade cordials, usually a mixture of distilled liquor and fruit or other flavors, were popular in America from the 17th through the 19th centuries. They were used both for medicinal purposes and to drink simply for pleasure. While in the later 19th century commercially-made cordials became popular for use in cocktails, earlier cordials like this 1828 recipe would have been served on their own as after-dinner digestives.

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